April to June
Bellingham, WA, is an hour away
Intermediate to advanced
Gain proficiency in big-mountain skills on Mount Baker
With over 7000 feet of climbing from the trailhead and a long summit with close to 5000 vertical feet of elevation gain, Mount Baker is the ideal place for alpine training and for learning snow and ice climbing and glacier travel skills. At 10,781 feet, it offers numerous routes with lots of options for any skier looking for a glaciated ski adventure. Whether you’re after one of the longest corn runs of your life, or more technical climbing and skiing, this is the trip for you!
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Two-Day Ski Mountaineering in Mt. Baker
Join your guide on a two-day trip to Mount Baker and experience ski mountaineering on an active volcano. Your first day involves skiing in and setting up camp, setting you up for the summit and descent on the second day. Explore the Squak Glacier with many impressive crevasses and steep ascents or opt for the Coleman-Deming route and perfect your climbing and skiing techniques.
This active glacier-covered stratovolcano offers many routes and is one of the most iconic mountains for skiing in the lower 48. The Squak Glacier set on the south face of Baker is well-situated for some of the best corn skiing in Washington! While the route involves predominantly moderate skiing, the summit is gained via the Roman Wall, a steep and exposed 1,000-foot final push before you reach the summit, and the exit from the Squak can involve some brushy skiing. The Coleman-Deming route combines a beautiful summit climb with a spectacular ski descent of moderate difficulty. Offering the unique opportunity to climb on two aspects of the mountain, the route begins on the north facing slopes of the Coleman Glacier, before wrapping onto the west-facing aspect of the Deming Glacier and a view of the opposite side of the mountain.
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Things you need to know
Covid measures in Mount Baker
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Mt. Baker, please refer to the official Washington State website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
Why should I book with 57hours?
With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.
What can I expect from ski mountaineering with a guide?
A certified ski guide will take all of the guesswork out of your time in the backcountry. From tour planning to route selection, terrain management, avalanche safety, and gear knowledge, your guide’s expertise and backcountry experience will ensure you have an unforgettable ski touring adventure. Your techniques will sharpen, you’ll learn how to navigate terrain safely, make smart decisions, and most of all, you’ll remain safe in unfamiliar terrain.
What if I’ve never ski mountaineered before?
Mount Baker is not for first-time mountaineers or backcountry skiers. You should have at least two seasons of experience in the backcountry, ability to ski/ride downhill in control on steep slopes in highly variable snow conditions and on glaciated terrain, basic ice climbing experience and basic avalanche rescue knowledge or training.
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Two days of backcountry ski mountaineering
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry equipment
- Medical and/or travel insurance
- Meals and snacks
- Wilderness Permit
- Camping equipment
How fit do I need to be?
In order to enjoy this two-day mountaineering adventure, you need to have an excellent level of fitness. The terrain in Mt. Baker is for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers, so you will need to manage controlled descents in highly variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain and steep slopes. Experience climbing or skiing in glaciated terrain is preferred, as well as basic avalanche rescue knowledge or training.
What equipment do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
- Climbing/technical gear (can be rented)
- Ice Axe (lightweight)
- Boot Crampons (recommend aluminum for weight savings)
- Climbing harness
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Warm Hat
- Sun Hat
- Lightweight Gloves (for uphill; softshell)
- Heavyweight Gloves (for downhill; waterproof and breathable)
- Ski Socks
- Lightweight Base Layer Top
- Lightweight Fleece jacket
- Softshell Jacket with Hood
- Puffy Jacket with Hood
- Hardshell Jacket with Hood
- Additional Puff Jacket (for snowmobile)
- Lightweight Baselayer Bottom
- Softshell Pants
- Hardshell Pants (worn over softshell pants for snowmobile)
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Tent (4 season, lightweight)
- Sleeping Bag (15-20 degree rating)
- Sleeping Pad (inflatable)
- Stove (recommend isobutane stoves over liquid fuel)
- Fuel (adequate for cooking and melting snow for water – the quantity will vary with the trip length; please consult your guide)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First-aid kit
- Blister Kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe can be rented from your guide
- Climbing/technical gear can be rented from your guide
- Alpine touring, telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Backcountry Essentials or AscentOutdoors
- Splitboards can be rented from Backcountry Essentials or AscentOutdoors
- Overnight gear can be rented from Backcountry Essentials or AscentOutdoors
Ski rental locations are Backcountry Essentials in Bellingham, WA, and AscentOutdoors in Seattle, WA, and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
What’s the itinerary?
Your ski mountaineering tour will be fully customized to match your objectives. You and your guide will discuss route selection, skills development, and whatever else you’d like to focus on. From there, your guide will plan the perfect trip tailored just for you taking into consideration factors such as weather and snow conditions.
Depending on your objectives and conditions, your days will look like this:
- 8:00 am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location
- 8:30 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
- 9:00 am – 2:00 pm: Gear up, go over safety considerations, and hike from 4- 6 hours
- 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Skin to the basecamp and establish camp
- 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Focus on the skills necessary for the proper use of an ice axe, traveling in balance, traditional self-arrest, and ski specific self-arrest
- 6:00 pm: Cap the day with a short evening ski run and dinner
- 5:00 am: Wake up, have breakfast and start the summit
- 5:30 am – 2:00 pm: Climb for 6 – 8 hours and reach the summit
- 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Spend the rest of the afternoon skiing down the slopes to the basecamp
- 5:00 pm: Upon reaching camp, pack up and head down for a celebratory dinner!
What is the minimum age requirement?
- Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
What about group sizes and pricing?
For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 4:1.
The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ski mountaineer with friends and family.
Ski mountaineering in Mount Baker can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
What about bad weather?
Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any excursion in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured, your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions on that particular day. Of course, inclement weather can always get in the way of backcountry skiing, but your guide will know the best course of action to take if the weather takes a turn.
On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable, safe alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your backcountry ski tour to a more favorable day.
If ski mountaineering is not possible on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.
Do I need an insurance policy?
We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with emergency medical insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.
If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!
With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.
For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.
For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Mount Baker, most people fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is 2.5 hours away. From there you can rent a car or take a scenic bus or train ride to Bellingham. From Bellingham you can take a bus to the Mount Baker Ski Area.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.